Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis


two human figures art
hope, freedom, life, different, contrast concept, blue sky human with broken human, surreal and fantasy artwork, conceptual art, painting illustration, sadness and depression idea

Making Art Is Uniquely Human

While the architects of AI "art" tools like to think their technology can replace human creativity, the artistic impulse is uniquely human

In my last post, I wrote about a novelist who used a version of the AI art tool known as Stable Diffusion to gather images for a promotional website. She wanted erotic and violent elements in the artwork and found that other AI art tools included “guardrails” limiting access to graphic results. But if these images are disconnected from a human, imaginative process, can we say AI-generated results qualify as creative works? Artificial intelligence doesn’t only challenge our notions of what it means to be human. It also makes us wonder what it means to make art and whether human beings are the only agents capable of creating it. Walter Kirn addressed this question poignantly in a Substack essay.  Kirn…

futuristid dystopian city
Dystopian futuristic cyberpunk city at night in a neon haze. Blue and purple glowing neon lights. Urban wallpaper. 3D illustration.

AI Art Tool Can Generate Both Beauty and Horror

Making AI image generators mainstream might offer people an interesting new frontier to explore. But the tech has a serious dark side

The capacities of AI art generators have grown much in the past couple of years. Through complex algorithms, AI scans the internet and manages to make artistic composites, some sublime, others grotesque. Today, AI art generators have incredible potential, but their capacities can also be easily abused. According to a Wired article from September 21, Science fiction novelist Elle Simpson-Edin wanted to generate artwork for her newest book. So, she tried AI tools. Her novel unabashedly depicts gore and sex, but most of the AI tools she discovered included “guardrails” that sanctioned explicit content. That is until she found Unstable Diffusion, “a Discord community for people using unrestricted versions of a recently released, open source AI image tool called Stable Diffusion.”…

Smart TV in living room
Video on demand service on smart TV

HBO Max Cuts Cigarette from Iconic Movie Poster

Modern tech gives entertainment companies the power to “retro-edit” material. How far could it go?

Last week, HBO Max, the Warner Bros.-owned TV streaming platform, cut more than just their costs — they’re cutting back on cigarettes too. Disneyland used to Photoshop out cigarettes in portraits of Walt Disney: https://t.co/7n3oBWzMI7 pic.twitter.com/zP58u8xBG5 — PetaPixel (@petapixel) October 12, 2016 Keen observers noticed that HBO Max removed the cigarillo from the iconic movie poster from “McCabe & Mrs. Miller.” Now, McCabe is awkwardly holding up two fingers with no smoking device in hand. They also scrubbed cigarettes from several other film posters, including “The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean,” “There Was a Crooked Man,” “Fallen Angels,” and “The Man Who Knew Too Much.” HBO hasn’t yet disclosed its reasoning for the cuts. Maybe they thought people…

dog and human faces
rhodesian ridgeback

Human Exceptionalism is a Central Theme for Novelist Dean Koontz

Bestselling author Dean Koontz talks fiction, human exceptionalism, and transhumanism with Wesley J. Smith in new podcast episode (Part II)

In Part I of this two-part series, we looked at Dean Koontz’s remarks on the purpose of art and the unique role of the novelist in today’s “everything is political” environment. But that’s not all he and Smith discussed on the Humanize Podcast on September 12th. Both had a lot to say about human exceptionalism, authoritarianism, and also…dogs! Koontz spoke about his love for the pups at the end of the episode, but first, discussed how the “animal rights” movement has gone wrong, and how a materialistic worldview can lead to despair.   Smith commented how human exceptionalism is a central theme in Koontz’s novels and asked the reason, to which Koontz responded, “There’s no civilization if we don’t recognize…

Boy running through flying books
boy standing on the opened book and looking at other books floating in the air, digital art style, illustration painting

Art, Propaganda, and the Role of the Novelist

Bestselling author Dean Koontz talks fiction, human exceptionalism, and transhumanism with Wesley J. Smith in new podcast episode (Part I)

Dean Koontz is a renowned novelist, known for books such as Devoted, The Big Dark Sky, and Odd Thomas. His books have topped the charts as New York Times bestsellers, and at age 77, he doesn’t plan on quitting the craft of fiction any time soon. He is also a longtime proponent of intelligent design and human exceptionalism, both of which find their footing in his many writings. On September 12th, Koontz was featured on the Humanize Podcast, where he and Wesley J. Smith, Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute’s Center for Human Exceptionalism, discussed Koontz’s career as a writer as well as some of the central themes that pervade Koontz’s work. For Part I of this two-part discussion on the…

Person clicking on a laptop while holding a cloth

Why Computers Will Never Understand What They are Doing

Can computers be sentient? Are there things which humans can do that computers can’t? Is artificial intelligence really creative? Robert J. Marks talks about his new book Non-Computable You: What You Do That Artificial Intelligence Never Will with talk show host Bill Meyer. Additional Resources Hear Bill’s podcasts at www.BillMeyerShow.com (broadcast from KMED / KCMD, Medford, OR). Purchase Robert J. Marks’…

Blockchain Network, Data Stream

Define Information Before You Talk About It: Egnor Interviews Marks

Has anyone ever given you some useless information? What does it even mean for information to be meaningful? This week, on Mind Matters News, guest host Dr. Michael Egnor interviews our own Robert J. Marks about information, as well as the creative limits of artificial intelligence, and why evolutionary algorithms aren’t the magic bullet they’re often presented to be. Show…

Human intelligence vs artificial intelligence. Face to face. Duel of views. Animated illustration on a school blackboard.

Robert J. Marks: There’s One Thing Only Humans Can Do

This week, we listen to Robert J. Marks speaking at the launch of the Walter Bradley Center for Natural and Artificial Intelligence in Dallas, Texas. Robert J. Marks is the Director of the Bradley Center and Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Baylor University. In a panel discussion at the 2019 launch of the Bradley Center, Dr. Marks…

stock tickers.jpg
Stock market data on digital LED display. Fundamental and technical analysis with candle stick graph chart of stock market trading to represent about Bullish and Bearish point.

Can Darwinian Theory Explain the Rise and Fall of Businesses?

The fashionable field of organizational ecology says yes — organizations are like animals in nature

When you think of “business,” do you think of stuffy suits and boring meetings? But maybe that’s just a pose. Organizational science studies what makes businesses survive, thrive and die. The description makes businesses sound more like living, vulnerable animals, doesn’t it? There is even a widely accepted subfield called organizational ecology, founded by Michael Hannan and John Freeman (1944–2008), which applies evolution theory to businesses. In 1989, Harvard University Press published their very influential book on the topic. Organizational ecology applies a specifically Darwinian form of evolution theory to businesses. That is, the main driving force of change for businesses is seen as natural selection. The “ecology” part of organizational ecology is the idea that the ever-changing business environment…

Spread your influence and opinions to other people. Good cultural and powerful bad effect. Undue unwholesome sway. Business leader concept.

How Erik Larson Hit on a Method for Deciding Who Is Influential

The author of The Myth of Artificial Intelligence decided to apply an algorithm to Wikipedia — but it had to be very specific

Here’s another interview (with transcript) at Academic Influence with Erik J. Larson, author of The Myth of Artificial Intelligence: Why Computers Can’t Think the Way We Do (2021). The book was #2 at Amazon as of 11:00 am EST today in the Natural Language Processing category. In this interview, Larson talks about how he developed an algorithm to rank people by the amount of influence they have, using Wikipedia. That was one of the projects that got him thinking about myths of artificial intelligence. It began with his reading of Hannah Arendt, a philosopher of totalitarianism: Excerpt (0:04:25.0) Erik Larson: And she has a whole philosophy of technology that I was reading as background to write The Myth of Artificial…

connect the dots.jpg
Anti social man, business connection or social network concept, miniature people businessman standing on colorful pastel chalk line link and connect between multiple dot or tiers on blackboard

What Is the Essential Feature of Creative Intelligence?

Creative intelligence is easier to describe by what it is not than by what it is. But there is a clue in that very fact…

I’ve spent the past couple articles debunking artificial intelligence. It is just as artificial as its name suggests. It takes on the appearance of intelligence through speed but it lacks the fundamental ability to create a well-matched start and end. So a perceptive reader has returned with another good question: “What is creative intelligence?” The reader is right to ask. Yes, telling someone that the exquisite dessert is not celery and not cod liver oil does not help us understand what the dessert itself is. There is a mystery regarding the very nature of human intelligence. Like its antithesis, randomness, creative intelligence is easier to describe by what it is not than by what it is. But, we can try!…

Shot of Corridor in Working Data Center Full of Rack Servers and Supercomputers with Pink Neon Visualization Projection of Data Transmission Through High Speed Internet.
Shot of Corridor in Working Data Center Full of Rack Servers and Supercomputers with Pink Neon Visualization Projection of Data Transmission Through High Speed Internet.

AI Researcher: Stop Calling Everything “Artificial Intelligence”

It’s not really intelligence, says Berkeley’s Michael Jordan, and we risk misunderstanding what these machines can really do for us

Computer scientist Michael I. Jordan, a leading AI researcher, says today’s artificial intelligence systems aren’t actually intelligent and people should stop talking about them as if they were: They are showing human-level competence in low-level pattern recognition skills, but at the cognitive level they are merely imitating human intelligence, not engaging deeply and creatively, says Michael I. Jordan, a leading researcher in AI and machine learning. Jordan is a professor in the department of electrical engineering and computer science, and the department of statistics, at the University of California, Berkeley. Katy Pretz, “Stop Calling Everything AI, Machine-Learning Pioneer Says” at IEEE Spectrum (March 31, 2031) Their principal role, he says, is to “augment human intelligence, via painstaking analysis of large…

Teamwork and brainstorming concept with businessmen that share an idea with a lamp. Concept of startup

Why Human Creativity Is Not Computable

There is a paradox involved with computers and human creativity, something like Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems or the Smallest Uninteresting Number

In last week’s podcast, “The Chaitin Interview IV: Knowability and Unknowability,” Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks interviewed mathematician Gregory Chaitin, best known for Chaitin’s Unknowable Number, on a number of things, including whether computers can show creativity. Chaitin has thought a lot about that: https://episodes.castos.com/mindmatters/Mind-Matters-127-Gregory-Chaitin.mp3 This portion begins at 21:34 min. A partial transcript, Show Notes, and Additional Resources follow. Robert J. Marks: We’re talking, just in general, about the unknowable. Roger Penrose recently won a Nobel Prize for his work with Stephen Hawking on black hole theory. He also wrote a book called The Emperor’s New Mind: Concerning Computers, Minds and The Laws of Physics (1989) and he followed it up with The Shadows of the Mind:…

Omega, the letter of a Greek alphabet. Greek numerals, mathematical eight hundred number concept. Abstract, digital, wireframe, low poly mesh, Raster blue neon 3d illustration. Triangle, line dot

The Chaitin Interview IV: Knowability and Unknowability

What does it mean for something to be unknowable? Is creativity non-computable? Do all things have a level of consciousness? Jump into today’s podcast, where Robert J. Marks continues his discussion with Gregory Chaitin about mathematical theory and philosophy. Show Notes 00:23 | Introducing Gregory Chaitin 00:40 | What is unknowability? 06:07 | Does non-computable mean unknowable? 09:43 | A…

hand of scientist holding flask with lab glassware in chemical laboratory background, science laboratory research and development concept

A Question Every Scientist Dreads: Has Science Passed the Peak?

Gregory Chaitin worries about the growth of bureaucracy in science: You have to learn from your failures. If you don’t fail, it means you’re not innovating enough

In this week’s podcast, “The Chaitin Interview III: The Changing Landscape for Mathematics,” Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks interviewed mathematician and computer scientist Gregory Chaitin on many things, including whether the great discoveries in science are behind us — not due to lack of creativity or ability on the part of scientists — but to the growing power of corporate and government bureaucracies to stifle research. But then a question arises: Could science, succumbing to the swamp of bureaucracy, be losing that inventive edge? https://episodes.castos.com/mindmatters/Mind-Matters-126-Gregory-Chaitin.mp3 This portion begins at 24:56 min. A partial transcript, Show Notes, and Additional Resources follow. Gregory Chaitin: What did an airplane engineers say once in a speech I heard? He said, “In the…

SpaceX Concept Spacecraft in orbit of the Earth. SpaceX Elon Musk Mars programm 3d render

Why Elon Musk and Other Geniuses Can’t Afford To Follow Rules

Mathematician Gregory Chaitin explains why Elon Musk is, perhaps unexpectedly, his hero

In last week’s podcast, “The Chaitin Interview III: The Changing Landscape for Mathematics,” Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks interviewed mathematician and computer scientist Gregory Chaitin on many things mathematical, including why great books on math, advancing new theorems, aren’t written much any more. This week, we look at why geniuses like Musk (whose proposed Mars Orbiter is our featured image above) simply can’t just follow the rules, for better or worse: https://episodes.castos.com/mindmatters/Mind-Matters-126-Gregory-Chaitin.mp3 This portion begins at 7:57 min. A partial transcript, Show Notes, and Additional Resources follow. Gregory Chaitin: Look at Elon Musk (pictured). He’s my great hero. He’s a wonderful engineer and he’s a wonderful entrepreneur and he doesn’t follow the rules. Robert J. Marks: He doesn’t,…

mannequin actors
Group of head mannequin or dummy in fashion shop.

#9: Erica the Robot Stars in a Film. But Really, Does She?

This is just going to be a fancier Muppets movie, Eric Holloway predicts, with a bit more electronics

Our Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks has been interviewing fellow computer nerds (our Brain Trust) Jonathan Bartlett and Eric Holloway about 12 overhyped AI concepts of the year. Lots of stuff happened and it’s the time of year for fun and entertainment! So here’s #9: Erica the Robot, from Japan, is to star in a film (filming begins in 2021): #9 starts at about 16:58 A partial transcript, Show Notes, and Additional Resources follow. A link to the complete transcript follows the Additional Resources. Robert J. Marks: Okay. We are counting down the Dirty Dozen hyped AI stories of 2020, and we’re at #9. In June 2020 in The Hollywood Reporter, we learned of the robot in the…

Question Signs

Information Is the Currency of Life. But What IS It?

How do we understand information in a universe that resists resolution into one single, simple system?

At first, “What is information?” seems like a question with a simple answer. Stuff we need to know. Then, if we think about it, it dissolves into paradoxes. A storage medium—a backup drive, maybe—that contains vital information weighs exactly the same as one that contains nothing, gibberish, or dangerously outdated information. There is no way we can know without engaging intelligently with the content. That content is measured in bits and bytes, not kilograms and joules—which means that it is hard to relate to other quantities in our universe. In this week’s podcast, “Robert J. Marks on information and AI, Part 1.” neurosurgeon Michael Egnor interviews Walter Bradley Center director and computer engineering prof Robert J. Marks on how we…

Code on computer monitor

Robert J. Marks on Information and AI (Part I)

What is information? How is information created? Will artificial intelligence ever be creative? Dr. Michael Egnor discusses information theory, correlations, and creative artificial intelligence with Dr. Robert J. Marks. Show Notes 00:27 | Introducing Dr. Robert J. Marks 01:14 | What is information? 06:44 | Exact representations of data 08:29 | A system with minimal information 09:27 | Information in…

Blurred Thinking

How Can You Talk to Yourself?

If your mind is one, how can it talk to itself? What will artificial intelligence be like in the future. Dr. Geoffrey Simmons and Dr. Robert J. Marks discuss the mind, artificial intelligence, and Dr. Simmons’ book Are We Here to Re-Create Ourselves?: The Convergence of Designs. Show Notes 00:26 | Introducing Dr. Geoffrey Simmons 01:07 | Thinking and problem-solving…